The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), in Kwara State, has demanded the refund of N33.6 billion the state Government deducted from the 16 Local Governments’ statutory allocations for 84 months.
The NULGE State Secretary, Mr Afolabi Abayomi made the demand while speaking to reporters in Ilorin on Sunday.
He said the N33.6billion was unconstitutionally deducted by the government to pay salaries of Junior Secondary School (JSS) teachers.
Abayomi declared that payment of Junior Secondary school teachers was not the responsibility of the Local Governments.
He said the sum of N400million was illegally deducted from local governments’ monthly allocation since 2009.
The secretary also said the state government had failed to release the Federal Government’s contribution to local government pensioners since 2009.
He, therefore, asked the state government to henceforth desist from this illegal deduction and to also refund Federal Government’s pension contribution deducted.
Abayomi added that NULGE State Administrative Secretary (SAC) met on October 14, 2016, and came out with the decision to say no to these illegal deductions.
He said that the 16 local government areas were short changed in their September statutory allocations using LG Joint Accounts Allocation Committee (JAAC).
Abayomi said the short-changing culture was being used in favour of a “State Agency that draws their statutory salary from the Local Government Allocations”.
“The SAC-in-Session wishes to stress here that the mode of the distribution of the August allocations shareable in September 2016 was unfair, bias, unconstitutional and thus rejected by the Union in Kwara State.
“SAC-in-session also resolved to withdraw from the participation in the monthly Joint Allocation Committee meeting because of the unholy activities coupled with deceitful tendencies and domineering roles of the state government,” he said.
Abayomi said that the state government should as a matter of urgency transfer state government’s technocrats posted to local government agencies to enable LG staff, who were trained, to manage such agencies as applicable in other states.
The secretary called on the state government to commence payment of Domestic Allowance to GL. 15, 16 and 17 officers at the Local Government level as it was paid to the State Civil Servants.
He implored Local Government workers in the state to remain calm even in the face of alleged unfair treatments meted on them by the state government.
Reacting to the allegation, Mr Muyideen Akorede the Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed, on Media and Publicity, said the state government doesn’t deduct money from the LG.
“Funds are shared among Basic Education teachers, LGs, Pensioners, Traditional councils as prescribed by law.
“The Ahmed administration ensures this distribution is done in transparency manner on monthly basis. So there is no basis for a demand refund of that or any other figure.
He said, “The government only proposed to take over Payment of JSS teachers in order to reduce the burden on LGs and enhance their capacity to pay workers in view of reduced allocation.
“It is ironic NULGE using that as the basis for its illogical demand for refund. We all know allocations have dropped to all tiers of government due to drop in oil prices.
“It’s time NULGE woke up to that reality. The Ahmed administration does not tamper with LG funds,” the Governor ‘s aide added.